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Dr. Caldwell's Syrup Pepsin Home Cook Book Old Forgotten Recipes 1910 Quack Medicine

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A Promotional Advertising Pamphlet for Dr. Caldwell's Syrup Pepsin
Quack Medicines - Nostrums - Folk Remedies - Patent Medicines - Laxatives
Advertising - Recipes - Cook Books - Monticello, Illinois - From 1910

No Date [1910]

Dr. W. B. Caldwell, born in 1839, was a real doctor with several medical degrees from various schools. Dr. Caldwell's Syrup Pepsin was, on the other hand, of somewhat dubious efficacy. Dr. Caldwell's Syrup Pepsin sold phenomenally well, with millions of sales, enabling the manufacturer to move to increasingly larger premises. Basically it was supposed to be a laxative. It was manufactured in Monticello, Illinois.

This promotional pamphlet, Dr. Caldwell's Home Entertainer and Guide to Health, was published around 1910, and makes reference back to the Food and Drug Act of 1906. Despite this, throughout the pamphlet claims are made for Syrup Pepsin acting as a cure for various maladies (the pamphlet here offered made the claim that Dr. Caldwell's Syrup Pepsin dispelled malaria, among other things). It may well have somewhat accomplished its laxative duty, but it was not a cure for anything.

And thus Dr. Caldwell's Syrup Pepsin takes its place alongside hundreds of other such spurious products sold to a gullible public, eager for anything which promised easement of bodily ailments. Dr. Caldwell's Syrup Pepsin was manufactured from the 1880s well into the twentieth century (the company had lucratively changed hands a couple of times) In 1939 the Federal Trade Commission ordered the manufacturers of Caldwell's Syrup Pepsin to cease misrepresentation of the efficacy of its preparations for the relief of constipation or other ailments.

This 32 page pamphlet, with its colorful cover, consists primarily of promotional text for Dr. Caldwell's Syrup Pepsin, and testimonials from happy users. I always figure such testimonials be viewed with a few grains of salt in hand. Interspersed with the promotional material are an assortment of various old recipes. Some of these are likely to have been forgotten and lost to time. None of the recipes purport to complexity, although there are a few phrases within them that may have the modern cook scratching their head. Some of the old recipes are: Bodina a la Reine, Bacon Fraze, Yorkshire Pudding, Georgia Sweets, Fat Rascals, Golden Rod Toast, Sour Milk Brown Bread, Snow Muffins, Sweetbreads,Salt Fish Ball, Green Corn Fritters, Clam Fritters, Peanut Butter Dressing, Boston Cream Puffs, Potato Doughnuts, Chow Chow.

It's a nicely preserved piece of Quack Medicine history and an interesting addition to any cook book collection.

32 pages; 4 3/4" x 7 5/8"; pictorial wraps, stapled (illustrated paper covers)

On the front is a sweet image of a young mother busy making a pie,; she is holding the pie up and trimming it. Her little daughter is helping mother , rolling out some dough. On the rear cover is a handsome depiction of the box in which Dr. Caldwell's Syrup Pepsin was packaged.

On the rear cover is stamped the name of the druggist who distributed Dr. Caldwell's Syrup Pepsin and this pamphlet:

Belfast, New York

Still attached inside the front cover is an original unused coupon for a free trial bottle of Dr. Caldwell's Syrup Pepsin.


This is a fairly scarce specimen, nicely preserved, with the following noted

EXTERIOR - The main imperfection on this old pamphlet is the display of staining to the rear cover - likely proof of its use in somebody's kitchen; there is a slight curve and splay to the front cover; there is a small split to the head of the spine fold; scatted small spots and smudges; nicks to the edges; corners are bumped with attendant creasing (most noticeable to top fore-edge corner tip) - but basically still presentable

BINDING : The staples shows no rust - binding is solid with no detached or loose leaves

INTERIOR : Paper is unavoidably toned throughout, else clean and presentable (the staining to the rear cover extend through a few pages at the bottom edge

Please remember that vintage and antique paper items are more fragile than their modern counterparts and require proper care in handling




Dr. Caldwell's Syrup Pepsin Home Cook Book Old Forgotten Recipes 1910 Quack Medicine


  • Vintage item from the 1910s
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